Students of private universities now running without permanent campuses are worried about what would happen if the universities do not take steps to move to permanent campuses as required by law.
They are concerned that it would be difficult for them to continue with their studies if they do not have any option to have their credit transferred after the universities are closed.
In December 2010, the education minister, Nurul Islam, announced that private universities failing to move to permanent campuses would not be allowed to enrol new students after September 2011.
Private university insiders have told New Age that some universities will in such a situation be forced to automatically shut down as their source of income will be stopped.
‘We are experiencing an abnormal reality. We do not know whether we will be able to complete our education,’ said Rasheduzzaman, a BBA student at Prime University.
Aminul Islam, another private university student, said that he was spending Tk 3 lakh on his education for a BBA degree. ‘It will be difficult for me if I cannot complete my graduation after spending such a large amount of money,’ he added.
‘I sent my child to a private university instead of colleges under the National University only to avoid session jam. It will be disappointing for me if he cannot complete his studies for the fault of the university,’ said Abu Taher Khan, a guardian whose child is a student at Prime University.
According to the University Grants Commi-ssion, at the time when the minister made the announcement, only eight out of 51 universities had permanent campuses, as required by the law.
Since then, according to UGC officials, six more universities have taken steps to move to permanent campuses.
Authorities of some universities are giving their students the impression that they are in the process of moving to permanent campuses although they have in reality taken no steps.
‘After the government decision when we asked the university authorities about what they were doing, they told us that they had bought land and would move to permanent campuses very soon,’ said Raihan Chowdhury Rahat, a student of tourism and hospitality management at Victoria University.
But a member of the Victoria University’s board of trustees admitted to New Age that they had shown the students the piece of land outside Dhaka that they said that they had bought but had no intention of moving to it.
‘We did not take the government warning seriously. We just showed the students the piece of land. But we have no plans to move outside Dhaka. We will run our university in the capital,’ said a member of the university board of trustees.
The Victoria University vice-chancellor, MR Khan, said that buying an acre of land inside Dhaka is impractical. ‘It would be easy if the government provisioned that universities should have the same space in a high rise,’ he said.
University Grants Commission member Atful Hye Shibly said that if the universities would try to deceive the commission by showing pieces of land where they planned to build permanent campuses, the commission would take stern action. ‘We will understand if they try to trick us and the government will take action accordingly,’ he said.
Students are hoping that the government will consider their problems when considering how to take action against errant universities.
‘I got myself admitted to the university as it said that it was approved by the government. The government gave the approval but now it is saying that university does not fulfil the requirements. Why was the licence given earlier?’ said Asif Haque, a BBA student at Victoria University.
‘We demand a good solution. We urge the government to take measures so that we can complete our studies,’ said Ziaul Haque, a BBA student at Atish Dipankar University.
‘We are not responsible for what our university did. We should not be punished for the faults of our university,’ said Mohammad Zaman, a student at Atish Dipanker University.
‘Universities which did not follow the rules should be punished. But the government should consider the situation so that students do not suffer,’ said Ahsanul Bashar, a guardian whose child studies in Victoria University.
The UGC chairman, AK Azad Chowdhury, said that the government would not stop any university from taking new students if it was clear that that they really intend to move to permanent campuses.
‘If universities can show that they have taken measures to move to their permanent campuses, the government will consider their cases,’ he said.
‘But the government will not tolerate if universities simply want to do business in the name of private universities,’ he said.
He said that even if the government was forced to close down some universities, interest of the students would be considered.
‘Students will not face any problem. If the closed universities do not want to continue with their activities, the government will make an arrangement so that students can transfer their credit to other universities,’ he said.
Courtesy of New Age